I really dig the design aesthetic of the upcoming Total Recall. Having seen so many sci-fi films over the years, I’m always looking for elements that are fresh and revolutionary. Unlike many popular, futuristic movies of the past decade of so, Total Recall at least looks like it’s trying something new.
Mars (which was never an element of the original Philip K. Dick story) has been jettisoned for a war-torn Earth that’s been split into two factions: Euromerica and New Shanghai. It’s a world replete with awesome flying cars (the best since Blade Runner) and menacing robots. Love it!
The idea of multiple suspended levels of buildings is really cool. I also like that the ‘floating’ modular structures of Euromerica have a classic bureaucratic, almost Greek, feel. It’s clear from the ground level of New Shanghai that Asia dominates the world. It’s a treat to see Western characters living in an Eastern environment. Overpopulation and urban sprawl appear to be out of control. The result is a beautiful mess.
I get the sense that the filmmakers are going for a hodgepodge sensibility that’s really working. It’s clear, when we look at our actual world, that there’s no one plan for how cities and cultures build communities.
Much like the retro-fitted aesthetic of Blade Runner, Total Recall seems to reflect this ‘anything goes’ approach while allowing overarching dynamics — corporate, totalitarian governmental, and Asian influences — to drive the visual side of the story.
I remain optimistic about this one. Hopefully, the story and acting will be as smart and intriguing as the images that are popping up before Total Recall’s release. The film hits theaters August 3rd.
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